Hi-Hat Questions

double bass man

Junior Member
Been working on my snare drum technique. Time to work on the hi-hat. Your advice and expertise welcome.

a) Hi-Hat: The foot. Is it common to have the heel down and work the hat from the toe? Been doing that and a after a shot while foot ache creeps in--is that common beginner problem? Just keep at it and the foot mussels will build up in time?

b) If playing the paradidal --RLRRLRLL-- can you keep a hat 2/4 going?--my 2/4 on the hat on the paradidal is all 'all over the place' !

Odd-Arne Oseberg

Platinum Member
a) As with the bass drum, both heel up and heel down is also common on the hats. It depends on personal preferrence, volume and to some also where on the beat you want to lay. If you haven't done it much it's definetly something you will feel in your muscles. Real pain is not a good thing, but it's hard to talk about specifics with technique without seeing you play. There can be all sorts of things like placement of stand, height of throne, placement of foot on the pedal, spring tension etc..

b) Not entirely sure I understand what you mean, but it is common to keep time on the hats, yes. Patterns to start with would be stuff like.

1) All four beats on hats
2) All four on bass drum
3) All for with unison bass drum a hats.
4) 1 & 3 on BD + 2 & 4 on the hars. I just call it walking.
5) 2 & 4 on hats

double bass man

Junior Member
Hi Odd-Arne Oseberg
Many thanks for your reply. Regarding my question B:

I can keep good time on the hat playing 2 & 4--playing a 4/4 rhythm on the snare with the sticks--no problem
if I play the 8 note paradidal the 2 and 4 on the hat goes 'all to pieces'.
Do drummers play the paradidal with the 2 and 4 on the hat?

Another question: If I am playing in 4/4 and play a different stick pattern would you keep to the 2 and 4 on the hat if you wanted to? Or do you play the hat to suit--as long as you keep time with the rest of the band?
Hope all the above makes sense!

Odd-Arne Oseberg

Platinum Member
Well, drummers do all sorts of things.

If something is hard you have to slow it down, maybe even count it out. Stil har? Slow don even more, maybe even do it in free time just so you know the coordination is happening, then gradually start keeping time and speed up.

It's not always the case that faster is harder. Slow and steady is not easy. It requires lots of focus.

What you do with the hats is just a musical choice. It certainly has a lot of potential of expression and yeah, when you solo it will definetly help the band knowing where you are.


Platinum Member
You should be able to keep 2 and 4 on the hats while doing anything really, but it takes time if you're not used to it. Pick up a copy of Stick Control and work on keeping 2 and 4 on the hats with page 5; the first page of exercises.

HH in bold.
If you are playing the paradiddle at 8ths:
Regular 16th paradiddle:
Heel up or down is up to you like Odd mentioned. I would make sure that your leg is not forming an acute angle when on the hats, which would be having the pedal too close to you.
Hope this helps.
Last edited:


Well-known member
Here's a fun exercise to try. I've seen this and variations of it mentioned elsewhere this is just one example of it.

I do this using first 12 patterns of stick control and will be part of my practice for a LONG time because of all the different ways to practice it. So far I can do the 8th note and samba hihat/kick while doing 16th note sticking patterns all over the kit. At some point I want to incorporate accents but I'm not there yet.